aging gracefully

Even people with perfect vision often need glasses as they get older. Of course, spectacles aren’t an option for our four-legged best friends, but there are ways to help them cope with diminishing vision.

As your pet’s eyes age, spotting small, stationary things can get tricky, and he may need more light to see like he used to. Senior pets can develop a condition called nuclear (or lenticular) sclerosis, a normal result of aging where increased density of the eye’s lens appears as a bluish-grey haze. This is different from a cataract, in which the lens becomes completely opaque and causes blindness. When your aging pet’s eyes begin to falter, try some of these tips:

  • Teach new commands, like “watch,” “step up,” “step down” and “careful” to help your dog navigate.
  • Use catnip-scented toys to entice kitties, and try scented tennis balls for dogs — just be careful not to toss them too far!
  • Resist the urge to rearrange your furniture, and try to stick to a routine.
  • The signs of diminished vision and cognitive dysfunction (senility) look similar on paper, so talk with your vet to see what’s best for your pet.